How to Protect Your Trees From Construction Damage

November 10, 2009
Your trees are valuable assets and mature trees are very hard to replace. You have a construction project on your property and need to build near trees. For more information on proper tree care maintenance, visit http://www.davey.com. What are your choices? 1. One option is to move the tree – and there are certainly ways to do this – but that’s another topic for another day. 2. Continue with your project, but take steps to protect the tree. Jenny Gulick, Davey Resource Group Expert, ISA Certified Arborist, and municipal specialist, will educate you on how to protect your trees from construction damage. Three of the most significant dangers during construction: 1. Trenching: Construction equipment can injure a tree by tearing or breaking limbs and/or roots and by damaging the bark and wounding the trunk. 2. Soil Compaction: Occurs when construction equipment and vehicles are continually driving over the root zone,-or when construction supplies and materials are stored for long periods of time near trees. 3. Soil Clearing and Grading: Causes mechanical damage, soil compaction, and stripping of soil nutrients from the tree’s root zone. So how can you prevent construction damage to your trees? •Install fencing to protect the root zone. Restrict construction activity in and near the root zone by erecting metal, plastic, or wood fencing. The fenced areas should be “off-limits” during the construction process. Remember, damage to the soil, such as compaction, is extremely difficult to repair after the fact. •Whenever possible, restrict trenching to areas that will disturb the least amount of root systems. Keep in mind that tree roots are mostly in the upper 12 to 18 inches of soil and can spread 2 to 3 times the height of the tree. •Planning is critical. Work with a professionally trained certified arborist in conjunction with your project architect and/or engineer to draft a tree preservation plan prior to beginning construction. It should cover items such as fence installation and construction parameters. Make it clear that no construction site disturbing activities (cut, fill, parking, or material storage) shall take place inside the fenced area, and post signs on the fencing that display warnings and penalties. So, once this project is over we can take this fencing down and move on, right? Wrong. Monitoring of the tree is still critical. Trees may not show signs of damage or stress now, but might in the near future. Make sure you follow appropriate tree care and maintenance practices such as pruning, appropriate watering, mulching and fertilization. Your professionally trained certified arborist can work with you to create a post-construction plan. For more free Tree, Lawn, and Landscape Tips: follow us on Twitter - http://twitter.com/DaveyTree or visit us at http://www.davey.com
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